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Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Stairway to Heaven

   During our recent visit to the island of Oahu, Hawaii, my wife and I were being squired about the island by our resident friend, Bonnie Sanders, and her two oldest children, Tabby and Corbin. After taking the H3 Interstate (yes, interstate—I have no idea) through a tunnel in one of the mountains, we popped out on the other side. While the view to the left of us was commanding (looking down onto Kaneohe Bay), my eyes were distracted by the large and precipitous mountain we had just transected. Suddenly, I saw something that seemed to defy reason.
   It was a stairway—a very narrow stairway—beginning somewhere below the roadway and angling erratically up the large face of the mountain before disappearing in the clouds.
   Our host Paul, an Army surgeon, told us later as he reviewed the video that the stairway is called the "Stairway to Heaven." First built in 1943, the stairway allowed workers to first build and then man military radio equipment on the peak. It was replaced by a metal stairway (of nearly 4,000 steps!) in the 1950s. The military installation was decommissioned in 1987, and the trail was closed. Yet the occasional intrepid hiker will attempt the summit.
   Sometimes my spiritual pilgrimage seems to resemble what a climb like this must feel like. No matter where I look, only stairs remain—either up into the mist or down into the gloom. It seems I may never reach the top, while the bottom seems to grudgingly, slowly drop away. For days I never move at all.
   But my theology tells me a different story. It says that, at the moment I realized my ability to climb was futile, and confessed as much, the Master of the mountain took me from the precarious and never-ending climb and placed me at the summit. It is still misty, and I can't really see what's there yet, but I am safe, in a different place.  A different kingdom, as it were.
   So why do I sometimes wake up and think I am on the path again, trying to scale the unscalable?
   Good question.
Wayne S.
(Click picture to enlarge. For more info, see here.)

1 comment:

Valentyna said...

Amazing mountain! And yes, my spiritual walk often feels like that too:)

It seems like you, guys, had a great time! Pictures on facebook are wonderful! I miss green color here in the desert.